I've just moved into a new house and decided to paint the kitchen cabinets. Last night I took all the doors off and for the first time got a good look at the shape they're in. It's not so nice, especially under the sink. I found a tutorial on how to use a drill, jigsaw, and screws to replace the bottom MDF with some plywood and I'll probably be doing that. But the very bottom face part (above the toe board) is in pretty bad shape; it looks rotten.

I know how to use tools OK but I don't know the names of a lot of things and I feel like I must be searching for the wrong things when I try to find a tutorial on how to replace this. Here's a picture (not my cabinet) just to clarify which part I'm talking about:

enter image description here

I looked at it and it seems to be connected with some type of joining to that vertical piece in the middle, but I can't see very well and I'm hesitant to just try and rip it off until I know what I'm doing.

So if anyone can give me any guidance, I'd appreciate it. Like search terms I could use or if you know of a good tutorial on fixing these somewhere or even tips like, do people even just replace that part or is this something where I have to replace the whole face or what? Maybe it's not even worth it and I should just kind of hammer it in and paint over it?

Thanks in advance.

  • 1
    If you had a picture of what you have and not a picture of a cabinet that is in good shape would be better.
    – Jack
    Commented Jan 14, 2016 at 19:43

3 Answers 3


First of all, if anything is rotted, there's a water problem. Make sure that's fixed first.

As for the piece that's circled, if that is rotted, then I'm wondering if the water problem is bigger than we think. How's the floor in that area?

As for replacing that one piece, there's no easy way to do that as it's likely screwed/nailed and glued. You can probably cut it out and replace the piece that way, though that would only look OK if you are painting everything.


If your cabinets are already painted (not stained), then I would absolutely recommend to just sand it and repaint it. Use an outdoor rated paint to resist water damage in the future.


The circled part is known as the bottom rail; the vertical part is a stile; the assembled rails and stiles are the face frame. The stile could be joined to the rail with a simple butt joint, or pocket screws, or a mortise-and-tenon joint, etc.

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